Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A rose by any other name

V Day
Mother had a friend named Veda. To
this day I really don't know where or
how they met. All I do recall is that
as a child, "Aunt" Veda occasionally
swooped in for luncheon. Decked
out head to toe - her hat was always
a bit off as was her demeanor. She
was tacky. Hence, these tete a tetes
occurred on those "off" days like a
Tuesday when Mother had nothing
else to do. Ethel only set a table for
two and always had an appointment
about two hours after Veda's arrival.
Think pink
Veda loved hot pink or "future" as
she called it. Translated from her
Bronx Honk that's "fuchsia". This
boy rarely saw "Aunt" Veda except
once in a long while. But received
Christmas and birthday cards with
"Love, Veda" boldly scrawled in
pink ink. Looking back I can't recall
what happened to her nor why lunch
was suddenly no longer served. Now
both Ethel and Veda are long gone.
Yet oddly I occasionally wish that
I could go back to the "fuchsia".
Horse of a different color
Maybe it's the moniker. Veda was also
the name of the errant child turned
evil protagonist in Mildred Pierce.
"Mother, you're a scream." 
Even more awful was Monty, poor
Mildred's dashing playboy husband.
"Stay away from Veda." 
What was most appalling about Monty
was that he was manor born. Hence in
theory people like he should mind their
manners. Sadly those who think that
they're better than everyone else often
behave all the worse because they can.
No reservations
My distant relative was a film actor
named Monte Blue. His given name
was Gerard Montgomery Blue. He
had the lineage of a thoroughbred.
Yet he opted to become an actor and
that was something never forgotten.
The Blues were originally Danes.
The Blauws first landed in Nieuw
Amsterdam in the mid 17th Century.
The Gerards were equably equitable
relations. Through them we can trace
our lineage to 14th century France.
In theory, something to be proud of.
Counter revolutionary
After starting out in DW Griffith's
"Birth of a Nation", Monte went on
to have a long and illustrious film
career. Initially as a leading man,
later in character roles. Monte may
have channeled his lineage francais
as he played opposite Lillian Gish
in "Orphans of The Storm." None
of that mattered to my Great Grand
Mother Sadie Blue King. Our "blue
blood" must be protected therefore
NO transfusions were allowed! So
why did Monte tell a white lie?!
Honest injun?
Monte made a grave error of telling
a reporter he was descended from
Cherokee Indians. That "lie" forever
placed Monte in familial purgatory.
While nothing to be ashamed of it
wasn't even close to the truth. The
myth continues to this day - just
look at Wikipedia. Sadly the only
Native Americans in Monte's life
were the ones he played on the screen.
Ultimately Monte became a circus
advance man and died in Milwaukee.
Truth is stranger than fiction.